It Really Was Your Fault, Kylie Oversen

District 42 Rep. Kylie Oversen is recognized as woman of the year by the North Dakota Women’s Network. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

State Senator George Sinner has announced, despite his previous indications, that he won’t be seeking a recount in his District 46 re-election race against Republican challenger Jim Roers. Now that absentee ballots have been counted Roers gained one vote on Sinner, bringing his lead up to a razor-thin 37 votes, and as long as that vote total doesn’t change when the results are canvassed later this month Sinner says he’ll accept the outcome.

“I’m not going to prolong the agony for me and others,” he said Tuesday.

But Democrats may want to “prolong the agony” of this election a little longer, if only to understand what happened. Because they’re not getting it if the self-serving email sent out yesterday by state Democratic Party Chairwoman Kylie Oversen (who lost her seat in the House on election day) is any indication:

You can read the full email below. Here’s an excerpt:

What happened on Tuesday night was not a reflection of the tireless work of our candidates, staff, and volunteers. Despite our best efforts, we still came up short. In districts Obama won in 2008 and 2012, Trump won by nearly ten points. This was a national wave that no one—not the pollsters, the pundits, the experts, or even Trump’s campaign—saw coming. This was not a failure of our candidates, our resolve, or our dedication.

Give me a break.

The shellacking North Dakota’s Democrats got on election day is absolutely the fault of Oversen and the candidates Democrats put on the ballot this cycle. They saw not a single statewide candidate get over 30 percent of the vote while in the Legislature they lost their House and Senate leaders, their party chairwoman, and now have just nine seats in the state Senate and just 13 in the House.

For those of you keeping score at home, that’s not enough elected members of the Legislature for Democrats to cover all of their committee assignments.

Sure, Trump’s election was the manifestation of a political attitude in America that few (outside of Trump and his supporters) identified. But North Dakota’s Democrats had been marginalized in state politics long before the 2016 election cycle. They’ve been losing ground for years now, and it’s not just about Trump.

The North Dakota Democratic party has been worn down to a small little nub of mostly angry, left-wing progressives who measure the success of their messages in the number of likes and comments their sanctimonious Facebook posts get from other liberals.

The North Dakota Democratic party has been worn down to a small little nub of mostly angry, left-wing progressives who measure the success of their messages in the number of likes and comments their sanctimonious Facebook posts get from other liberals. The pragmatists and moderates have left the Democratic party in North Dakota. These days they’re Republicans.

And why wouldn’t they be? While the #NoDAPL movement has been terrorizing south central North Dakota, with an assist from President Barack Obama who has needlessly delayed the Dakota Access Pipeline’s construction, the state Democratic party up to and including Senator Heidi Heitkamp has stood silent. Oversen actually went so far as to declare her solidarity with the protesters.

When Democrats did actually bother to talk about actual policy North Dakotans might cared about, they did so dishonestly. The tent pole talking point for Democratic legislative campaigns across the state was a complaint about oil tax reforms passed by Republicans during the 2015 legislative session which was demonstrably untrue in a mathematical sense.

Democrats claimed the oil tax legislation cost the state money. It did not.

The Democrats have been losing in North Dakota, and will continue to lose in North Dakota, because they seem unwilling to stand for things North Dakota voters might be willing to support.

“We are not Oregon or California or Colorado. People here don’t want millennials, hipsters and wet-behind-the-ears sorority girls running their party,” a SAB reader with some experience working with the state Democratic party and its candidates in the past, wrote to me after election day. “They want people with callouses on their hands, grit in their teeth and a couple trophy bucks on their wall. They want family farms to be strong, energy development booming, the best education system in the country and illegal protesters put in their place. They want strong men and even stronger women. They want people with conviction and a backbone. Instead ND Democrats have milk-toast weak leaders and a rainbow coalition of self-entitled candidates trying to whine their way into office. They are a joke.”

I think that nails it.

In summary, it really was your fault, Kylie.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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